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Biographical entry Walton, Sir Albert James (1881 - 1955)

KCVO 1925; Officier, Légion d'Honneur; MRCS 9 February 1905; FRCS 13 June 1907; Hon FACS 1936; BSc London 1906; MB BS 1908; MS 1909.

1 November 1881
27 August 1955
Mayfield, Sussex
General surgeon


Born on 1 November 1881 son of Charles Frederick Walton, he was educated at Framlingham College and the London Hospital where he gained many scholarships and prizes, qualifying in 1905. In the BSc examination in 1906 he obtained honours in anatomy and morphology, and on taking the MB BS degrees, he secured honours in midwifery, gynaecology and pathology. At the London Hospital he held appointments as emergency officer, house physician, receiving room officer, resident anaesthetist, house surgeon, assistant director of the Institute of Pathology, surgical registrar and demonstrator of anatomy before being elected to the honorary staff in 1913. Other hospitals to which he was attached were the Poplar Hospital for Accidents, the Evelina Hospital for Children, the Seamen's Hospital, Greenwich and the Victoria Hospital, Kingston.

During the war of 1914-18 he served as Captain RAMC(T) attached to the 2nd London General Hospital and also at the Endsleigh Hospital for Officers, the Palace Green Hospital for Officers and the Empire Hospital for Diseases of the Brain and Spinal Cord. In the war of 1939-45 he was a temporary Brigadier attached to the Army Medical Service.

At the College he was a Hunterian Professor in 1919, lecturing on the surgery of the spinal cord in peace and war, a member of Council 1931-47, and Vice-President 1939-41.

He was an extra surgeon to the Queen, having been surgeon to King George V, King George VI and to the Royal Household.

An honorary member of the Académie de Chirurgie of Paris, he was a past President of the Association of Surgeons, the Medical Society of London, and the surgical section of the Royal Society of Medicine.

As a surgeon his approach was that of a general surgeon, but latterly it was particularly as an expert in the surgery of the biliary tract that he was best known.

After his retirement he concentrated on his rather unusual hobby of gemmology, at which he was an acknowledged expert and on which he wrote several papers. He was awarded the diploma with distinction of the Gemmological Association of which he became President, and he was chairman of the National Association of Goldsmiths. These two bodies established at their headquarters in the city the Sir James Walton Memorial Library, containing models of minerals made by Sir James himself. He was the first medical man to appreciate the importance of the atomic structure of minerals in the causation of chest diseases. His hobbies, apart from gemmology, included fishing, tennis and badminton.

He married, first, Nancy Mary daughter of James Trevett by whom he had a son (Anthony James Walton FRCS) and a daughter. She died in 1953, and in that year he married Renée Carrington. He died at his home in Mayfield, Sussex on 27 August 1955 aged 73.

A memorial service was held in St Philip's Church, Stepney next to the London Hospital on 12 September 1955, at which the Queen was represented by Sir Arthur Porritt.

A Textbook of the Surgical Dyspepsias. London, Arnold 1923.
A Textbook of Surgical Diagnosis. London, Arnold 1928, 2 vols.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 27 August 1955 and 29 August p 9 c, 14 September memorial service, and 12 January 1956 Will; death of Lady Walton: 31 March 1953 p 1 b and 8 c; Lancet 1955, 2, 567 with portrait and appreciations by THS, H S Souttar, P H Manson-Bahr, HLT and HT, and p 780 by MJS; Brit med J 1955, 2, 621 with portrait and appreciation by Sir H Souttar, p 684 by A Wilfred Adams, and p 794 by Dr Patrick Heffernan; Ann Roy Coll Surg Engl. 1955, 17, 263 by Sir H Souttar with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England